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Was the NY Times story about Trump's desire to fire Mueller purposefully leaked to take heat off the FBI?

Was a New York Times story about President Trump's desire to fire special counsel Robert Mueller purposefully leaked to take heat off the FBI? A reporter for the Washington Free Beacon sure thinks so. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Was the New York Times' story about President Donald Trump's desire to fire special counsel Robert Mueller used to distract the public from the doubt building around Mueller's investigation?

A reporter for the Washington Free Beacon sure thinks so.

What happened?

More evidence was released this week that calls into question the objectivity of Mueller's investigation. The questions stem from the anti-Trump bias of the investigation's former top agent, Peter Strzok, who was reassigned last summer after the DOJ learned of anti-Trump, pro-Clinton text messages he exchanged with his mistress, FBI laywer Lisa Page.

Released text messages have revealed shady happenings within the FBI as Strzok was also the lead investigator in the FBI's probe of Hillary Clinton's private email server. Text messages show that Strzok wanted to go easy on Clinton and he wanted to quickly wrap up the investigation. Strzok, who also officially interviewed Clinton for the bureau's investigation, knew well in advance of his interview with Clinton and the conclusion of the investigation that the former secretary of state wouldn't be criminally charged.

Couple that with the FBI's stunning admission last week that they "failed to preserve" five months worth of text messages between Strzok and Page from Dec, 14, 2016 to the day Mueller was appointed special counsel. To put it mildly, Mueller and the Department of Justice have had the heat turned up on them in recent weeks.

And just as more damning text messages were released on Thursday, the New York Times released an anonymously-sourced story that detailed how Trump wanted to fire Mueller last year — but didn't.

Immediately, Trump was accused of obstructing the investigation despite the fact he never took action. Now, the media's focus was no longer on the FBI or Mueller's investigation. Instead, the media turned its focus to Trump's desire to fire Mueller. As of Saturday, the media's focus has remained there.

What did the reporter say?

"Isn't it curious that just as the Mueller probe and the entire premise of his investigation is coming under scrutiny...that we have a deliberate leak to change the narrative," Free Beacon reporter Elizabeth Harrington said on Fox News Friday. "Now the media is in a frenzy, they're talking about obstruction."

"Trump didn't fire anybody. Not firing someone doesn't sound like obstruction to me," she added, noting that Strzok's text messages more closely define obstruction.

Harrington also said she believed the Times' story was "intentionally leaked by the Mueller team as a distraction."

"We've seen a complete change in narrative now," Harrington later said, speaking of the time after the Times' story.

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